Hardware, Studio Setup

How to Connect Multiple Headphone Sets To Your Audio Interface

Written By : Andrew Siemon

After setting up my vocal recording booth that I bought recently, I realized I had a new problem: the inability for the singer and myself to monitor simultaneously. So I had to add more headphones to my audio interface.

To connect additional headphones to your audio interface, run a 1/4″ stereo cable from the interface’s output on the back of the device to your headphones amplifier/splitter. Plug in a 1/4″ to TRS adapter into the headphones port of the splitter, and then connect your headphones as well.

How to Connect More Headphones for Monitoring to Your Audio Interface

How to Set Up More Headphones With Your Audio Interface With A Splitter
This is the brunt of how you’re going to set this up.

If your audio interface doesn’t have multiple headphones ports for monitoring, you’ll need a splitter/amplifier for connecting additional headphones.

Using an amplifier/splitter through your audio interface is also a great way to drive cans that have a much higher impedance like the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PROs, for example.

This is the best way to fix this problem without springing for a far more expensive audio interface.

1) Connect Your Splitter & Interface With A Stereo Cable

1) Connect Your Splitter & Interface With A Stereo Cable
Connect your stereo cable from your device to your splitter like so.

2) Power Up the Headphones Splitter/Amplifier

2) Power Up the Headphones Splitter/Amplifier
The Mackie splitter will power on the moment you plug it in. There isn’t a switch.

Many higher quality headphones have a higher-impedance so you’ll need an amplifier to properly drive them and get enough volume.

It wouldn’t be a terrible idea to have a surge protector/extension cable somewhere nearby, that way you have the ability to connect your headphones amp/splitter to power.

3) Plug In The 1/4″ to TRS Adapters

3) Plug In The 1/4
Make sure the adapter is pushed all the way in. Whenever I’m having an audio problem, I find this to be the culprit.

4) Connect Your Headphones to the Adapters

4) Connect Your Headphones to the Adapters
You can also get 80 ohms DT 990 Pros instead of the 250 ohms. I wish I would’ve done that instead, but you live and learn.

5) Use An Extension Cable for A Much Longer Distance

5) Use An Extension Cable for A Much Longer Distance
This isn’t 100% necessary, but it definitely was for me.

It depends on how far away your singer is from the audio interface. In most cases, your singer isn’t going to be close enough.

I’ve said this many times before, but it’s better to be too long than too short. An extra long extension cable will give you this capability.

6) Set Your Output to the Audio Interface

6) Set Your Output to the Audio Interface
Then you want to set your output device to your audio interface.

How you set your output device will change, of course, according to your DAW. This is how it’s done in GarageBand. Most DAWs do it in a similar way.

It’s important to note that your volume will now be controlled not on your audio interface, or on your computer, but with the Mackie HM-4.

7) Connect Your 2nd or 3rd Pair of Monitors

7) Connect Your 2nd Pair of Monitors
I’ve got another pair of headphones, the Audio Technica ATH-M30x which are good enough for monitoring.

Most people are going to prefer over-the-ear headphones rather than earbuds. Nobody wants to share earbuds with someone else.

If you are looking for in-ear headphones, the Etymotic ER3SEs are a solid choice. I’ve been using them for years.

Have any questions or concerns? You can let me know what you think in the comment section below. I’m curious to know how you’ve set things up in your home studio.

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

Andrew Siemon is the principal creator of ProducerSociety.com, a website dedicated to all things music, including music production, music theory, recording, and how to use the most popular DAWs. Starting out as a metal guitarist, Andrew has since moved into other areas of music production including hip-hop and fusion

Leave a Comment